You Were Made to Be Mine by Julie Anne Long
The Palace of Rogues #5
June 28, 2022 by Avon
Review by Angela
The Palace of Rogues by Julie Anne Long is currently one of my favorite ongoing historical romance series, so I was beyond excited to find out there would be another new release coming out this year.
I feel like this book gives off that same cozy, found family feeling as the previous installments while at the same time having darker content and themes. When the book opens the male main character, Christian Hawkes, is just released from prison after three years when the Earl of Brundage summons him. These men are alike because they move in the same dangerous social circles and work for the Crown. Brundage as a diplomat and Hawkes as a spymaster. But Christian suspects the earl of being a traitor to the Crown and believes him to be the reason he was arrested by the French government and jailed. Brundage did keep him from being executed, so he has called in this favor and tasks Hawks with finding his missing fiance and the expensive piece of jewelry he gave her before she disappeared.
The female main character is Aurelie, Lady Capet. A French noblewoman whose family was killed during the uprising, and has since lived under guardianship and raised by her nanny. She flees France and her fiance when something terrible happens between them. She ends up at The Grand Palace on the Thames under an assumed name, with the plan of selling off the single piece of jewelry she still possesses in hopes of traveling to Boston and finding sanctuary with her last remaining family member, her older brother.
I knew right from the beginning that this would be a much darker book than its predecessors. I also had an idea of why Aurelie fled France and her fiance. In my gut, I knew what the terrible thing that happened between them was. I just knew. And yet, I kept on reading because I love this author and her voice.
Hawkes and Aurelie are an odd match, with a huge difference in age, life experience, and social standing. He is the older, world-weary man and she is the much younger, sheltered woman who is running from an awful situation. It’s not until about 30% in that they actually meet, when Hawkes is stabbed and kind of falls into the Palace injured and bleeding. She doesn’t really know who he is, other than suspecting he is too handsome and charming, he on the other hand knows exactly who she is when he wakes up.
Aurelie is a lovely woman and I wanted to reach into this book and give her a big, warm hug. She was brave and endearing. I believe the author did a good job of handling her and her trauma with the care it deserved. Christian Hawkes has his own tragic backstory to deal with, but despite his history with the villain, I don’t think it played as big of a part in the overall plot. I’m still not exactly sure if I believe their rush into love and commitment. Hawke’s instalove felt weird and I wondered if Aurelie loved him because of HIM or because he became her protector when she needed one so much. The chemistry was there, but the connection felt off.
The secondary characters once again play a huge part in the story. There are quite a lot of light, fun moments amidst the somber themes. I felt like I was bouncing back and forth between the two, not sure if I should smile or cry.
While not my favorite in the series, I was glad to catch up with this wonderful group of characters. I look forward to seeing them again in the future.
Content warnings- mentions of off-page rape and sexual assault